Posts Tagged → IMUSA
In less than nine days the football authorities (The FA, Premier League and Football League) will have to produce a plan of introducing measures spelled out in Octobers government response to the football government report. I’m sure we’ve all looked at it but some of us like me haven’t looked at it closely enough. Many of us believed it would do nothing and was a halved arsed effort. Firstly consider this… Some of the items in the governments response refer directly back to the the report. For example we all believed the Government had passed over leveraged buyouts but that is not the case. I even said in a past blog they’d completely bottled it. This past blog shows you need to go into more detail… Leveraged Buy Outs To Be Banned
Another area which I haven’t looked at in more detail until now is covered in the governments response under point 41.
41. One option that we have considered is to specify within the new club licensing system a trigger point that would require clubs to make a seat available to one or more supporters’ representatives on the Board. Such a trigger point could be the next time the club changes hands; the point at which the officially recognised supporters organisations reach a certain size; or by a majority vote of eligible supporters. There will be other options as well.
Point 41 means within the club licensing system there will be a trigger point system for the officially recognised supporters trusts to place members on the board of football clubs. The recommendation says these will include a change of ownership, the size of a supporters trust, by a vote and that there will be others options. If this had been in place in the past, clubs over the last few years like Leeds, Plymouth and Portsmouth who have had problems could have placed a member on the board for greater power and transparency.
This trigger point system to get a member on the board for many clubs may only come about at the point when a club changes hands or gets in trouble. I think many people have passed over the other trigger points. The change of ownership has been happening since football clubs were created and for all clubs this will come around but for a club like Manchester United or Chelsea where the owners say they have a ‘long term interest’ or another club which could be anywhere in the leagues which hasn’t changed hands for 20-30 years like Wigan, that system doesn’t and won’t work. A key recommendation here is once an officially recognised supporters organisation reaches a certain size instead of changing hands. Most football clubs even in the Premier League may only have at best a few 1000 members or less, some only have 100s. Norwich City for example a Premier League club have over 600 members but own 1200 shares worth a value of £121,000 in their club. Swansea City fans already have a member on the board due to the fact they own 20% of the club. The Manchester United Supporters Trust back in 2005 had a touch over 30,000 members. They now have over 175,000 and if this trigger point for example requires 1000 or even 10,000 members, surely from day one of the new licensing rules, our supporters trust would meet the requirement triggering that point. A trigger point like this could do two things. One, trigger on the day its introduced for those who meet the criteria and two other supporters trusts would surely have a big inventive to promote themselves and grow to meet that target. If the target was 1,000 which to me seems realistic. Reading, Spurs, Arsenal and others would meet it but many wouldn’t. I believe a target of anything over 10,000 would make it impossible for most clubs to achieve and impossible for smaller clubs.
A licensing system so clubs have to talk to fan groups like IMUSA/MUST, possible members on the board, supporters trusts given first options on future takeovers via administration, leveraged buyouts banned, protection of shares in football clubs, full transparency on the ownership of football clubs and its debts is all very much on the cards. We could have done with all that in 2005 and today the next club in trouble will be Arsenal. Hopefully this will protect them from big debts and American owners. Currently this all feels like a pipe dream but if we then consider that by next Wednesday the footballing authorities have to agree a plan as set out in the response and that the government want most of the recommendations in the response in place by the start of the 2012-2013 season it becomes much more real. Of course for many of us it won’t be real until it happens.
From the share sale news, to scarfs, to brand new sponsorship deals, to old campaigns and more. There are two things I want to discuss first or more of two things you could do. One any twitter followers, follow IMUSA on twitter. Since 1995 they have been a powerful voice of the fans. They campaign for the fans on almost about everything. Currently they have 375 followers when really it should be over 300,000. Forget MUST, these guys know what it’s about and they aren’t scared of letting others know. FOLLOW EM!
The second is linked to IMUSA in the way. They have officially called for all clubs in the Premier League and Football League to be 51% owned by the fans, so if you haven’t sign this link. http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/12412 Had loads of questions about being outside the UK. If you are outside the UK, you just need to say your a UK resident and you can put a none UK address in as normal. That means you type a zip code instead of a postcode for those asking.
On from that MUST have a new campaign or should we say the recycled Green and Gold campaign much like Ashley Youngs new chant. I find the email they sent out a little simple, I don’t believe it was the ‘Green and Gold’ scarfs or the ‘Green and Gold’ Campaign, it was a whole movement and feeling. Put it this way you’ve got a movement against you, one step from possibly going all out, are you going to make it worse or try and dampen the situation down? I think even the Glazers knew taking that £95m out of the club, at that stage would have caused an almighty uproar. With the IPO coming am not saying it’s time to move away, I still wear mine but the latest email from MUST is limited at best. They have this million member project? I’ve never seen this start. There should a plan to push this. If this IPO comes about, wheres the plan for taking a stake? There needs to be a recommended value set which MUST members will buy shares at? Initial or not. I don’t think a pretty poster with George Best on will gain members or buy shares. If one of you reads this, it isn’t me moaning, it’s a feeling we all have.
This DHL deal has really taken to the press… £40m for the training kit. Theres a reason this is doing the rounds. That means for the 1st team kit and training kit sponsorship value is £120m every four years. Considering Arsenals last deal was a £48m for the shirts over 8 years, is valued at £6m a year, this is £10m a year just for training kits. That means Manchester United’s shirt/training deals are 5 times more valuable than Arsenals. Over 10 years that’s comparable with City’s £400m deal but this doesn’t include any naming rights of stadiums and I believe this deal doesn’t include sponsorship on the training gear before Champions League matches. If that’s to do with rules or something else I don’t currently know. You have to ask some questions. If the shirt deal went to market now, what would that fetch? Will there be a deal for the naming of the training ground? Will there be another deal for Champions League matches? Did this deal just make Manchester City’s deal more viable? If other clubs deals like Arsenal’s were up for renewal, what would they fetch? There are likely three more deals in those questions which are already being lined up and that doesn’t include another £3m a year deal with a Vietnamese mobile company that has also just been signed. Another odd one is Mister Potato a Malaysian snack company which is apparently being lined up. United have many of these lower level partners have targeted telecoms firms hard by signing many deals and they are likely to sign more.
The IPO has been raising a few questions and my main current question is to do with the buyers of the shares. We know already you need a broker in Singapore but theres rumour this is just open to financial institutions. That to me would say it’s limiting the value by cutting certain people out, such as this Peter Lim and of course the fans. I don’t really see why other than gaining possible interest or dividend payments why a financial investment company would want to invest in a football club which hasn’t for the last two years made a profit and plans to spend it’s 30% value on reducing debt. The bonds given out have a different purpose than shares. The bonds have an interest rate of between 8-9% and I’d very much doubt the shares would have anything similar unless theres some odd Glazer plan that only makes sense to them and David Gill.
Half a century of blogs on football governance and ownership issues but this 50th blog will look at how the club deals with the fans. It’s not only just the two issues of ownership and governance which are important to me. It’s the whole football experience, a change of ownership could improve allocations, standing and the general football experience. Currently that’s impossible to get across.
One issue which keeps popping up is tickets and allocations. In the modern game you’d think this wouldn’t be a problem but it’s a massive problem. The standard Premier League allocation for league games for each away team is either 3,000 tickets or 10% of the capacity. It is very rare these days that United see a full allocation of tickets. The main reason that does the rounds is normally persistent standing but it seems this isn’t the case. Each stadium, club and council has it’s own way of dealing with these things and normally the fan visiting has no involvement and isn’t contacted by anyone. When an allocation is cut such as away at Tottenham or Sunderland the reasoning is kept behind closed doors. The club ‘Manchester United’, don’t investigate or publish why the allocation is as it is. When a letter is sent out from the club with the tickets the only word ever used is ‘persistent standing’ but if you ever contract Tottenham Football Club or the local council, the word ‘standing’ is unlikely to the used. The words ‘Health and Safety’ are more likely to be used and the real reason isn’t clear.
Manchester United as a club fail time and time again on behalf of the fans to deal with the issue. There is also a group called ‘the fans forum’ and what they do? I have no idea. Since the club don’t allow criticism of anything they do anymore, there isn’t really much point in the group. Allocations are still dropping, drinks and tickets prices are still going up. Those are the three things most fans are interested in. IMUSA in the past was that group, they called for lower ticket prices and worked with the club on controlling standing and allocations. There is no group like this anymore which challenges the club. It still exists externally but now it has no role within the club.
The club should be challenging standing and allocations. It’s rumoured the standing it’s self isn’t the problem. Keeping the fans informed should be number one and if there is an issue which has affected an allocation it’s best to advise the fans what the issue is. If the real issue isn’t made known it can’t be fixed and it cannot be challenged in the future.
In the last year alot has been said about football ownership but there are still afew totally clueless people who write things they have no knowledge about. Cue Louise Taylor of the Guardian I don’t often get offended but this does offend me. There are certain areas which have been discussed over the last year and most people understand what would and wouldn’t happen. Thinking ‘all clubs’ under supporter football ownership schemes would have all their fans vote online for the first 11 every time they play, means you really don’t have a clue. Ebbsfleet are the worst example of football ownership going and its not slightly comparable with the examples myself and many 100,000s of others would accept. Thinking Manchester United would be taken over by the fans and then the fans would vote online to pick the team is so off the mark you’d have to live on mars to think that’s what me, other football supporters or the Manchester United Supporters Trust would want! To show anyone who doesn’t understand what could happen heres what wouldn’t and would happen.
A takeover of Manchester United by the fans WOULD NEVER see!
- Any online voting system.
- Fans voting on the 11 players that play each game.
- Fans choosing the manager.
- A vote on future signings.
- The fans being able to sack the manager.
A take over of Manchester United by the fans WOULD SEE.
- A board of directors as any other football club.
- The only voting would be for the people who make up the members of the board.
- The members of the board would have the interest of the fans and the club at heart.
- The board of directors would make footballing and club decisions like any other club.
- The board of directors would be forced to follow certain rules after a takeover. Examples – The club cannot be put up for sale. Debt cannot be put on the club. The stadium and training grounds cannot be sold. Tickets prices are to be recommend under deals between the club and IMUSA. IMUSA, MUST and other fan groups are to have official links to the club, these cannot be broken (as Glazer did back in 2005).
- The board would give the manager a set transfer budget. Example – Any mega expensive signings would as with ANY club be considered by both parties. David Gill, the Glazers and the Manchester Board still have to consider everyone who the manager signs. Finances are important.
- The board can be asked to starting to consider other issues such as safe standing, away ticket allocations, final allocations, sponsorship ticket levels, ticket prices and future expansion of the stadium through fan groups such as IMUSA and MUST.
The fans want what is in the interests of Manchester United Football Club but the club also has the interests of the fans. Its a two way street and currently its mostly a one way street. Most fans would agree many areas of ticketing for games away from Old Trafford are poor. This is one area the club can its self campaign but currently does naff all. From the facts above its clear the Spanish, German and FC United routes of football ownership are the correct ways to go BUT every club and its fans, have different issues they want to address. Certain people thinking we as fans plan to vote on the team or have a voting system in place to sack the manager need a reality check. We want the manager to have freedom, the team to have support, the club to be free of debt, the club to be stable and have the fans interests in its mind.
People often ask me about who’s involved and what they can do. So below am going to provide a list of interesting sources I use and promote who promote themselfs against Glazer and have a large anti glazer following. This include fanzines, supporters, supporters groups and of course the anti glazer products.
First off you can follow me on twitter by clicking the follow me links on this page or click @wewantglazerout for those who know twitter.
The Manchester United Supporters Trust (MUST) – I recommend everyone becomes a Full Member £10-15 a Year and also joins the Capital share scheme. This is basically the phoenix fund under a different name. Every red should have cash in this I do. You can normally find them on match days outside one of the houses on Sir Matt Busby Way.
The Independent Manchester united Supporters (IMUSA) – Started in 1995 they were cast out by Glazer in 2005 after starting to get ticketing deals
set up with the PLC. Membership is £5 a month and they’ve been the backbone of promoting supporter ownership, ticketing and safe standing in the English game.
TShirts-United.com – Heres a selection of Anti Glazer T-Shirts from the guys who know best. 100s of unofficial designs which make the megastore AON shirts look average.
Red Issue – This is the only mag I’ve ever brought on match day, £2 an issue. If you still go, drop the official program and manutd.com forums join the forum and buy the fanzine on your way into the ground. They will soon put you in your place, am sure they’d put me in my place if I allowed it. Not for the faint hearted. There are other fanzines, if anyone recommends any that I should promote please let me know. http://www.redissue.co.uk/
Seen the famous Love United Hate Glazer stickers, flags and products. See here…. http://www.loveunitedhateglazer.com/
If you have facebook or twitter please use add The Love United Hate Glazer Twibbon to your avatar/profile pic. This is the 2nd most popular twibbon after the Manchester United badge. This is the only twibbon I actively promote. http://twibbon.com/join/Love-United-Hate-Glazer-5
If anyone else has more to add please let me know. Follow me on twitter for more information @wewantglazerout